Embracing an Ordinary Life

facesSomewhere along the line, it seems, we all put bumper stickers on our minivans that say Extraordinary or Bust. At least, that’s what this NY Times article posits. As a society, we are so fixated on success and accolades, on concrete, external and preferably loud and bedazzled celebrations of our (and our children’s) accomplishments, that we’ve forgotten what it means to live an ordinary, magical life. Everyone is a genius who is destined for greatness. Except that’s not true. So why not step into that chasm and live there, and live there well?

As someone who started out fully outfitted in the trappings of success, including the trim little lawyer suits, and dropped out, I HAVE to believe that the small and ordinary things I do for my family mean something. This blog is an attempt to find weight and truth in the things that don’t end up on a resume, that don’t get me a pat on the back from a partner in my law office, that don’t bring me money.

But even I, who has every reason to try to redefine success for myself, fall short when I start to feel like I’ve fallen short. Even I, whose last shred of self worth is tied up in this, does not know how to answer this simple question: Does she live up to her potential? Depends who you ask, I suppose. But certainly, don’t ask me.

I love this article and that someone is saying hey, there’s more to life . . .

I love the idea that my soups and sauces and swims count for something. I love that my kids know that I do serious food shopping at the farmers market, that before age 12, they know about fresh eggs and delight at the sight of a bright orange yolk. That’s because of me and it is not nothing. I may not be closing multimillion dollar deals any more, but I have a brood of food lovers, readers, dancers, swimmers and laughers. And it’s because of me.

Right here, right now, riding this jittery wave of my morning coffee, I’m taking credit. In this moment, I’m not going to be shy about not “doing” anything in the conventional sense. I’m taking back the little stuff and holding it high in the air like a banner.

Because it matters. It has to.

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